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Raven’s got wires, several amplifiers, and a couple of head units spread out in front of her, all salvaged from abandoned cars her and Wick had found while traipsing through the forest, yet putting any of this trash together into something useable is a task that even Raven's not sure she's up to at the moment. All of the supplies are laid out on the table, waiting for her to put them together to give to Clarke so that they may finally have a working communication system between Polis, the outlying villages, and the quickly evolving Sky Camp, but she was stuck and frustrated and distracted by the room’s other occupants. Clarke was busy drawing new territory lines, mapping enemy movements - the Ice nation had become increasingly brave on their front, pushing in deeper every month with small raiding parties, attacking isolated hamlets, and the nations that still remained in the alliance were beginning to push back, angry at the civilian losses and blatant disrespect. A year of peace is all their many sacrifices had given and it leaves Raven a little bitter at the Earth that was now their home and, eventually, their grave.

War was coming, and soon, if the Ice Nation incursions were not nipped in the bud.

 

Which left the Commander - Lexa -  responsible for leading many groups to battle, for showing her face and rallying the troops around the united cause again. This time, against a clan of their own.

 

While the situation called for her presence, the commander was unfortunately… under the weather at the moment. As far as Raven knew, she’d recently returned from one of the traveling war parties and was now injured - to the point that she was bedridden and semi-immobile. She currently lies in the corner of Raven’s temporary encampment, semi-conscious and silent on a billowing pallet of large furs - an improvement from the fevered grumblings that had filled the last few hours of work in the small space. The plate of food Raven had brought back, after leaving to retrieve sustenance of her own sometime in the early afternoon, lay untouched on the bedside.

 

Injured, sick and ungrateful. God, sometimes Raven looked for any reason to feel that old rage simmer beneath her fingertips, the one that ran heat down the cold nerves of her spine and legs, leaving angry burns all up inside her as she considers the Grounder Commander. It’s stupid, but she’s learned rage can be useful, at the very least, it can be cathartic.

 

Despite, the lack of progress on the communication systems, Raven could say she’d learned something today

 

‘don’t do drugs, kids’. Lexa gives out a low groan, reminding Raven of her presence once again. ‘fucking hell.

 

Although, she would attest to having understood that particular lesson at a young age thanks to her mother and Lexa’s current state was simply a further reminder. If there was one thing she’d drawn from Finn and her rough childhood it was a glass half-full perspective on life and a Commander on drugs, was a Commander vulnerable.

 

“Clarke.” Lexa hums and rolls her eyes skyward, tongue rolling slowly around the words like she was tasting the name. “Clarke.”

 

Raven’s standing over a particularly frustrating box that looks in good condition, but doesn’t seem to want to give up any of it's good pieces, and decides to take a break before she breaks something.  She glances between the Commander lolling on the pile of furs, repeating Clarke’s name a few more times, and Clarke herself, who stands unbothered across the table fiddling with some miniatures on her half-finished map.

 

“You going to answer her?”

 

“Hmmm? Oh. No. She’s been saying my name since she woke up.” Clarke clicks her tongue against the back of her teeth, chewing on a half-smile like she’s secretly pleased her name is the only thing coming from Lexa’s drug-addled brain. “Have you got that radio up?”

 

“Uh. No.” Lexa hums a song under her breath and says Clarke’s name again - not calling out for her, letting it rest on the tip of her tongue each time before repeating the action. This is why Raven doesn’t come to Polis often - nothing makes sense here, least of all Clarke and Lexa. “Can I ask why she’s saying your name like it’s the only word she knows?”

 

“There was a war party.” Clarke’s not smiling anymore, brows furrowed as she remembers the group riding back this morning, having traveled all through the night with Lexa swung onto the back of one of the saddle horses, her blood dripping down it’s flank. There’d been a terrible, horrifying moment where Clarke had lost her head, had stood frozen in the crude roadway eyes desperately looking for the rise and fall of Lexa’s chest, but unable to move her feet to get a closer look. For a moment, Clarke had failed to be responsible, to be an example, to be a leader. All because the thought of adding Lexa to the ghosts that shadowed her steps scared the living shit out of her. The day would come, most likely, where they would part ways, but all she could think while stitching pieces of Lexa together was not yet. Not. Yet. “The Commander was injured and we needed to keep her sedated to treat her injuries. Unfortunately, she had a, uh, reaction to the medication. Nothing life threatening. It’ll all wear off by morning”

 

Raven doesn’t miss the lack of details, or how Clarke’s face takes on a pinched appearance. She doesn’t take offense at the lack of sharing - Clarke’s lack of elaboration is not because she doesn’t want Raven to know, but because retelling the story means reliving the pain. It’s hard to miss a face you’d seen in the mirror too often.

 

There’s another little moan from the pallet of furs and the Commander looks infinitely smaller stripped of her armour, beads of sweat dripping from a fever she hasn’t beat. Raven should feel privileged - not many are allowed to see her like this, but really her stomach just rolls a little bit and she feels very uncomfortable at Lexa’s appearance.

 

It’s not a feeling she chooses to focus on, and another incoherent mumble of Clarke’s name from the very drugged girl to their right gives Raven a very inventive distraction.

 

“Hey, Commander Lexa, what’s your favorite color?”

 

“Blue.” Lexa mumbles into her bed, eyes still closed. “Blue like the sky where Clarke came from, blue like Clarke’s eyes.”

 

“Oh my god.” Clarke groans in embarrassment. “Raven. Don’t.”

 

Raven can only laugh, biting on her fist to muffle the sound. This is perfect. “Hey, Commander Lexa, where’s your favorite place in the world?”

 

“Bed. When - when Clarke is there.” The girl is so unaware, high up in the clouds on whatever medicinal concoction she’d been given, that, for once, Raven is extremely close to enjoying her company. It’s even better that her words slur happily, still saying Clarke’s name reverently, enunciating every part, with the added bonus that she probably wouldn’t remember of this once it all wears off.

 

“Seriously, Raven?” Clarke has her face buried in her hands, elbows on the table and the sun is shining through the tiny slit in the tent flap and it all feels so familiar and comfortable - as if they hadn’t spent their time together fighting wars and wiping out civilizations.

 

“One more! One more!” She pleads, holding up a single finger.

 

“Well, then. At least, this is amusing.” Clarke snorts, face red and blotchy at Lexa’s blabbering. She is utterly delighted by Lexa’s unthinking words though, more so than she would ever admit out loud. “For you.”

 

“Oh yeah.” Raven takes a moment, placing a finger on the crossover circuitry in the amplifier to think of her final question. “So, Commander.” The girl in the corner of the room grunts - still conscious. “Who’s your favorite person in the world?”

 

“Clarke.” It’s quick and concise and then Lexa reverts back to her earlier repetitive babbles, “Clarke. Clarke.” and Raven just burst out laughing, happy and entertained.

 

“You done?” Clarke asks, finally pulling her head out of her arms and twiddling with a toy tree petulantly.

 

“Yeah. I’m good.”

 

“Well, then I’m going to try and get some actual work done.” She picks up a long stick of charcoal and focuses back on the parchment laid out in front of her, ignoring the pleased grin that plays quickly across Raven’s face. They work in silence for a bit before Clarke speaks again, just as she’s outlining the territory line between the Boat and Desert clans. “I’m glad we can still laugh like that.”

 

Raven doesn’t even need to think before replying, “Me too.”

 


 

About an hour and many upset noises later (fuck, shit, you fucking piece of shit, open the hell up, goddammit I am the mechanic, open up for me, I command you, you fuck - fuck), Raven finally manages to pry apart the casing of the box that had been giving her so much trouble, and without doing too much damage to the delicate, viable parts inside. Borrowing a few wires from a spare, extremely damaged speaker, she twists a line in from the amplifier to the spare radio box that Wick and her had built earlier and carried over from their workshop in the Sky camp. Turning it on, there’s only static and Raven fiddles with the switch for a while, trying to catch a signal from any of the surrounding radio towers or boxes placed in key populated areas - but nothing. A key problem with cross-over frequency technology in the 21st century cars was the inherent power loss and Raven fears that the tiny radios they had built from scratch couldn’t compensate for that extra need. They required a boost, and a power source was not not something Raven could create out of thin air - not without her tools and the large scrap pile she’d been building back home.

 

“How’s it going?” Clarke asks. Raven grunts and shrugs her shoulders noncommittally. “You’ll get it.”

 

Raven’s jaw works back and forth in frustration, hand reflexively coming to massage her leg. “You do realize I can’t fix everything, right?”

 

“Whatever.” Clarke doesn’t turn to look at her even as Raven peeks over her shoulder at the other girl. “You’ll get it.”

 

“God, I hate you sometimes.” Clarke does glance back at her at those words and grins teasingly, shaking her head because they both know it isn’t true - not anymore, not for a long time. “Dammit. Shut up.”

 

There’s a muffled groan from the back of the room signaling the awakening of the pillow princess once again, clinging to a small deer pelt like a stuffed animal as she rolls from her back to her uninjured side. Another muttered ‘Clarke’ and she appears to fall back into unconsciousness.

 

“Why’s she in here by the way? Shouldn’t she be in med bay or at least an actual building?” Raven’s pretty sure her temporary tent is not the most sanitary place, despite Clarke’s best attempts at setting up a comfortable area for her visiting friends it is no Ark, and certainly no Camp Jaha - especially after all the modifications that had been set up thanks to salvaged tech from the mountain last year.

 

“I needed to work and she fought harder against - fought stupidly,” Clarke’s smile falls away and her white knuckled grip on the table speaks to her own frustrations (and maybe her fears as well), “against bedrest when I left the room. Nyko gave the all clear so, they moved her in here - with me.”

 

Raven smiles at her, “So, basically, she was being a pain in the ass?”

 

“With her injuries - like always.” Clarke’s grin finds it’s way back onto her lips and she’s glad that Raven’s here to make light and laugh - it helps remind her that Lexa is in no immediate danger.

 

“Clarke.” The words sounds clearer this time, echoing off the animal skin walls, and Clarke shifts just in time to watch a now awake Lexa struggle to sit up, hand pressed to her side and chest where Raven assumes the injury lies. Pain flickers deeply behind her eyes, only calming once Clarke comes into sight.

 

“Lexa!” Clarke cries out and rushes over just as the Commander’s shirt begins to spot with blood. Her hands find Lexa’s back and chest and gently lower her back onto the ground. Raven watches one face twist in feverish pain, the other simply in panic. It’s an emotion Raven hasn’t seen on Clarke’s face in quite some time and a part of her seethes again at this grounder warrior for causing such a thing to rise in her friend (and Clarke is her friend, in spite of  how much has passed between them or maybe because so much has passed between them. They are tied together.). Clarke sits down on the edge of the pile of furs, patting Lexa softly on the head, smoothing some fly away strands of hair, and Lexa collapses back on the pile of furs, groaning a little from her attempted movement. “Stupid. Stop moving. You’re hurt.”

 

“Clarke.” Lexa whispers it to the ceiling again, blowing the name out into the cosmos like it’s made of stardust. It’s ridiculous seeing the commander of the twelve clans rolling around on the ground like a child, groaning and mumbling, revealing herself in ways she never would normally, but it is real and it’s happening right in front of their eyes. Clarke presses a delicate kiss against the corner of Lexa’s lips and when she pulls back the girl tries to follow, head lifting flimsily off the pallet in search of Clarke’s lips again. Raven watches Clarke give in and place another, more lingering kiss onto Lexa’s lips before retreating more firmly. Lexa lets loose a high-pitched whine that has Raven’s eyebrows shooting into her hairline.

 

“She is so fucking high right now.” Raven says disbelievingly. She is amused. Highly, highly amused. Her heart twists a little bit because every time she encounters Lexa the girl seems more human, especially when Clarke is around. She’s not sure how she feels about it. Lexa will never be her favorite person - they will never be friends because Finn is dead and gone and at the end of the day, Lexa handed down the decision, no matter how little room for negotiation existed (Finn killed and Finn murdered, but Finn saved her). There was never any compromise with Finn - not on his death or his place in Raven’s heart.

 

Clarke continues to sit at Lexa’s side, dragging the commander’s head into her lap and petting her so she stops shifting. There’s a soft fluttering sigh and Lexa is burying her head into Clarke’s abdomen, nosing the edge of her t-shirt up and wrapping her arms around Clarke’s waist. It’s her favorite position - something Clarke has noticed in the months they’ve shared a sleeping space. The bottom of Lexa’s shirt rises and Clarke reaches to pull it down before bringing a blanket over the commander who has started shivering again from the fever. When the fur touches her sweaty back, Lexa’s muscles relax into Clarke and she resumes dragging her fingers through Lexa’s tangled hair and running the back of her hand along Lexa’s sweaty forehead and cheek. It’s intimate and Raven has to turn away, unable to watch them.

 

“I love you.” Raven’s back is still turned to the pair and her eyes widen and her spine stiffens at the soft admission, the private whisper of this larger than life woman that was very, very much not meant for her ears.

 

“If you love me then you won’t pull out your stitches.” There’s a humourous lilt to Clarke’s voice and Raven could tell from earlier that she was - is -  enjoying the commander’s drugged up state, despite how worried she is about her condition. “If you love me you will rest and heal.” The second part is said quieter, sadder, and Raven can hear the familiar desperation she understands so well echoing in the undertone of Clarke’s words that asks the Earth to stop taking and taking from them. She also notes how Clarke doesn’t say it back and wonders if maybe the rift between the two leaders is not as healed as she assumed. Or maybe they are both as haunted by the spectres of the past as everyone else and maybe, it is only the drugs that cause Lexa to be as free with her words as she is at the moment. Whatever the answer, Raven does not waste time pondering questions that can not be answered with a hypothesis and an experiment. It’s a useless endeavor.

 

Lexa hums and repeats those three words weakly.

 

“Clarke.” Raven turns and watches Lexa reach up to drag fingers against Clarke’s cheeks, touching the edges of her lips, curved into a small smile. “Clarke.”

 

She needs to leave.

 

“I’m going to head out - find Wick and get everything ready for when we leave tomorrow.” Raven announces.

 

Clarke lays Lexa down and stands up, crossing the room quickly and reaching to wrap a hand around her wrist, “Wait!” Raven stops, “If we’re done for the day, I could,” Clarke pauses and swallows - she knows how Raven feels about Lexa, feels about her and Lexa, but, “I could use some help moving her to her room.”

 

Neither of them are getting any more work done for the day and while Clarke spares a mournful thought for the unfinished map on the table, none of it means anything if Lexa does not recover swiftly and Lexa always heals better with her nearby ordering her around. She watches Raven’s profile. It gives away nothing and she fears maybe it was too soon, too much to ask because Finn and -

 

“Sure.” Raven sighs tiredly, “I’ll help you tuck Commander Assface into bed.”

 

Clarke lets go of Raven’s wrist and drags an equally exhausted hand across the side of her face, “You’re lucky she’s asleep.”

 

“Please. If she was awake I’d simply get to enjoy the look on her face when I said it.”

 

They both know that isn’t true. It is only the privacy of the tent and Clarke’s affection for Raven that would prevent Lexa from cutting her down if she uttered such disrespect to a fully conscious Grounder Commander, but the two girls laugh anyway, pretending for a moment they don’t live in a world dictated by blood, imagining that they have never been in love with murderers, that they have never been killers themselves.

 

“Okay. Upsy-daisy. Here we go.” They each bend down and swing one of the Commander’s arms over their shoulder, lifting as gently as possible while Clarke encourages Lexa to try and stand on her own.

 

“No.” Lexa grunts it out stubbornly, unwilling to move quite yet, and she’s dead weight on their poor bodies.

 

“Lexa, you need to help us.” Clarke says.

 

“No. Who are you?” Raven laughs and falls to the ground, forcing the other two girls to collapse back onto the furs as well. Lexa lays on her back and stares at the ceiling for a moment before shifting slightly  to look at Clarke, “You are beautiful, but no one is allowed in the Commander’s bedroom without permission.”

 

“Oh my fucking god, she’s talking in third person.”

 

“Not helping, Raven.”  Clarke spares Raven a scathing glare before concentrating back on the matter at hand. “Lexa, we’re not in your bedroom. We’re going to take you to your bedroom.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

Clarke takes a calming breath, drumming her fingers on the back of Lexa’s hand which she’s still holding from their earlier attempt at hauling the injured girl to her feet.

 

“I’m - I’m Clarke. I’m your -” She bends to the side and whispers something in Trigedakru to Lexa, face turning visibly red again.

 

“Oh.” Lexa’s eyes widen comically for a moment. “Oh. You and I?” Clarke nods. “I am yours.” She looks up at Clarke reverently, child-like wonder on her face. “I get to kiss you?”

 

Raven snorts into her hand and Clarke feels the beginnings of a smile on her face.

 

“And probably other things too, Commander.” Raven sneers and Clarke leans across Lexa’s body to shove her, not taking her eyes off Lexa.

 

“So, are you going to help us?”

 

“Help you?” Clarke shakes her head affirmatively and then replies ‘yes’ after realizing Lexa’s eyes cannot follow the movement. “Help Clarke?”

 

“Yes. Help me.” There are miles of sin between the Commander and Clarke and most stand buried on a mountain some distance away, but the rest shadow their words and interactions everyday. Love is not kind. Love does not heal all things. Love lies. It’s something all three of the girls came to accept some time ago among rivers of blood and broken ideals.

 

“Okay. Okay.” She mutters, “Help Clarke.”

 

Raven hates how she’s almost charmed by the way Lexa’s face sets determinedly after Clarke asks for her assistance.

 

The Commander’s legs shake like a newborn foal, but she holds some of her own weight and it’s all they need to begin the short trek from Raven’s tent to Lexa’s quarters - it’s a good thing Clarke always insists she sets up close to to them because despite being small and rid of her armor, Lexa almost weighs more than Raven and her crippled leg and Clarke and her lower height can handle.

 

“Fuck, she’s heavy.” Clarke grunts an assent. “Tell Commander Fatass she needs to lay off the meat pies when she wakes up.”

 

“Believe me, it’s all muscle.” Clarke replies without thinking. They makes their way down tiny paths, avoiding as many people as possible. It is best that as few as possible see the Commander in any weakened state. Part of her power comes from perpetuating her god-like legend.

 

“Oh.” Raven quirks an eyebrow up and smiles knowingly, “And how would you know that, princess? Been seeing the Commander undressed pretty often?”

 

Clarke lets loose an indignant squawk  and the noise draws a random citizen of Polis to poke their head out a window. The three girls move silently against a wall to avoid exposure, the brick pressing into their backs as Raven laughs under her breath at her friend’s discomfort. The sun is going down, bathing the alleyways in orange and the city is beautiful. Polis is beautiful and Clarke looks up fondly at the sky and then down to the ground.

 

“I’m going to murder you someday.” Clarke sighs out and Lexa momentarily finds the energy to pat her on the head like a small child, murmuring, “No killing, Clarke. Not today.”

 

"Right. Not today."

 


 

 

Guards push the doors open for them as they move along, offering to help each step of the journey, but Clarke replies quickly in broken Trigedaslang - a rough talent she’d pick up in the six months she’d been living in Polis - that they will manage, grip tightening on Lexa possessively. Raven had never been inside the personal chambers of the Commander, but they were not as ostentatious as she’d assumed - an incorrect conclusion she’d drawn from Lexa’s love of highbrow and impassioned speeches (she swears she’s never seen someone closer to setting off trumpets and fireworks at the sound of her own voice) as well as from the exterior of her abode which was all Grecian columns and high ceilings. The room was big and a large bed lies in the center, but otherwise it was sparse and minimalistic. Almost spartan in it’s decoration. Raven imagines the Commander probably spent little time here before Clarke. What appeared to be a chest of drawers sat against one wall and an easel, along with some abandoned paints and a stool, sat near the window (Clarke’s addition to the room, Raven was sure) and that was really all - a few scattered pieces of clothing on the floor and nothing else. They limp over to the bed, stumbling along like they’re participating in a four-legged race until the three are close enough to assist Lexa up onto the bed. The woman leans awkwardly over, exhausted from the short trek, tipping to one side, and Clarke pulls her back upright into a sitting position, waiting until Lexa looks steady enough before walking quickly over to the drawers and pulling out a new shirt. Raven glances back towards the Commander, who is leaning over again, this time forward, and her eyes trace over the tiny circles of blood that bloom across the front and side of her thin shirt. The outline of many, many bandages press against and wrinkle the material, showing themselves very clearly. She wonders for a moment what the injury is, but dismisses the concern with her next thought. She does not care.

 

Clarke returns to Lexa’s side and Raven steps back to face the wall so that some privacy is afforded to the still oblivious Commander. It is a courtesy she would give to even someone she hates.

 

After counting to three hundred, Raven decides enough time has passed, but she turns too soon as Lexa remains unclothed and Raven is afforded a full, unblocked view of the bandages surrounding her wound as well as the blood. A line of red draws it’s way from the middle of Lexa’s chest, above her sternum, where underneath her heart lies, all the way down and over to the side of her abdomen as if someone had tried to cut the commander in half and simply hadn’t struck deep enough. So much of her visible bare skin is covered in bandages that it’s a wonder Raven can see them at all, but she still manage to find the beginnings and ends of other scars, peeking out and contrasting against the white dressings, raised and healed from injuries long past.

 

She’s never spent enough time with Lexa to ponder her - she tries not to think of the girl at all, but it is hard to imagine a life still existing with that much skin left unmarred and Raven can’t help the tiny clenching of her heart at the possible ways the suddenly very real girl (Lexa is two summers younger than her) probably acquired all those scars.

 

Clarke is murmuring soft words to Lexa, instructing the girl to lift her arms.

 

“I don’t want to.”

 

“I’m going to put a clean shirt on you.”

 

“But I don’t want to.” Raven now realizes why it’s taking so long as Lexa sloppily shakes her head, denying Clarke and refusing the shirt. “I want to sleep.”

 

“Then put the shirt on.”

 

“No shirt. Just you.” Lexa says it softly, agonizingly slow as the drugs course heavily through her system. “Just you.” Her eyes open fully for the first time in hours and they stare straight into Clarke’s.

 

Clarke pauses and takes a deep breath before tossing the shirt on the ground. It wasn’t worth it. “Okay. Just me. Now, lay down.”

 

“Okay.” This time Lexa nods and acquiesces to Clarke’s request, body bending back onto the bed as gently as possible - Clarke assisting where she can. When she’s finally settled against the soft mattress Lexa waits patiently for a moment before speaking again. “Clarke.” Her hands reach out and grasp for air, looking confused when they don’t actually catch Clarke. “Clarke, come.”

 

She climbs in after the injured girl, stretching over Lexa onto the other side of the bed so that Lexa doesn’t have to move anymore than needed. Raven watches silently, not feeling the need to help, but not yet sure if it is proper to leave. She has not said goodbye yet. Clarke sits back into the bed next to Lexa who immediately throws an arm over Clarke’s waist and rests her head against Clarke’s side, burying her nose in the softness of the synthetic material of Clarke’s shirt. Little breaths escape and Raven can see how the cloth moves with each stuttering release of air. Clarke’s attention is away from Raven for a moment longer, finger coming up to trace a tiny scar on the side of Lexa’s arm - a knife or a bullet Raven doesn’t know, Clarke may not either, but something broke Lexa’s skin long, long ago and left a part of itself embedded there as a reminder that the Commander is human, that the Commander bleeds, and that, someday, the Commander will die.

 

Clarke bows over and lays a fast, fierce kiss on Lexa’s lips, absolutely unwilling to consider parting with her anytime soon.  Clarke clenches her jaw and grinds her teeth together, finding the power to withdraw hastily from Lexa’s lips and her own musings, refocusing on Raven.

 

“You’ll head back in the morning?” She asks.

 

“Yeah. It’d be better if I could take all the parts we salvaged back to the workshop. Look over everything all at once. Maybe then I can get this damn radio system up and running. The short-wave station here is still operational so i’ll update you as it goes.”

 

“Okay.” Raven sees the word for the dismissal it is and makes her way to the door and doesn’t look back. “Hey, Raven.”

 

“Yeah?” She stops again and wonders how long it’s been since she hasn’t stopped for Clarke.

 

“It was really good seeing you.”

 

Raven’s head tips up and she swallows painfully over the lump in her throat, “You too, princess.” Clarke smiles shakily at the nickname, but it doesn’t hurt as much anymore - not when Raven says it. “Take care of that dumbass, okay?” She doesn’t say it for Lexa. Raven could really care less whether Lexa lives or dies except that she has no desire to watch anymore of her friends suffer the pain of losing a loved one.

 

Clarke laughs again at Raven’s rudeness, her chest bubbling with happiness at the request no matter how insincere or unnecessary it is. “Will do.”

 

“May we meet again, Clarke.” She says the customary parting with a bit of unexpected veneration and an undertone of wistfulness. Nothing is certain.

 

“May we meet again.” Clarke repeats firmly. Her fingers card through the thick strands of Lexa’s hair in a comforting gesture before finding the nearly asleep girl’s hand and gripping it tightly. Lexa squeezes back weakly.

 

The doors close behind Raven and she walks away to find Wick.

 


 

Lexa wakes in the middle of the night, skin sticky with dried sweat from her now broken fever and pressed hotly up against another body.

 

Clarke. She’s in bed with Clarke.

 

Not the worst place to be. (Her favorite place)

 

Blonde hair tickles the top of her head and Lexa adjusts so that she can fully view the sleeping girl at her side. Watching Clarke, she lets herself attempt to recall what occurred after her injury - the bumping of the horse, the struggle against the doctors, delirium onset from the fever, blood and Clarke. It’s easy to remember most of the days events now that her head is clear of sickness and drugs and she’s not sure what to make of the pieces from her most recent memories - the conversations between Clarke and the mechanic, the sad timbre of Clarke’s voice when they bid each other farewell. She sits up and a small groan escapes unbidden at the stretch of skin on her side.

 

“Lexa.” There’s a sleepy murmur and Lexa runs a gentle hand over Clarke’s hair, shushing her.

 

“Go back to sleep.”

 

“Not if you don’t.” Clarke grunts and then bats away Lexa’s hands to move closer to her, “How are you feeling?”

 

“Better. I never wish to take those medicines again though. It is unwise for me to be so unaware.”

 

Lexa’s bottom lip is sticking out in some semblance of a pout and Clarke laughs at it, sending the vibrations against Lexa’s chest as she returns the laughter with a small smile.

 

“I agree. I like you better when you are here with me - mind and body.” It was far too confusing to deal with a Lexa that free and open. It was a force to be reckoned with, having the Commander laid bare and admitting her love for Clarke and Clarke is not ready for that. Not yet.

 

It’s hard to imagine a time when Clarke wasn’t hers, when she was not Clarke’s, but Lexa knows how delicate their relationship is, old wounds still exposed and throbbing on their worst days, scars that may never completely disappear. She wonders. She wonders when Clarke will leave and  wonders if a day will ever come when Clarke’s departure from her life is no longer an inevitability and instead, an impossibility.

 

“Are you - Are you happy here, Clarke?” Lexa swallows and the air stills in her lungs as she waits for a response.

 

“Yes.” There’s no hesitation in Clarke’s voice and she twists up to meet Lexa’s eyes, bringing a hand up to grip her chin tightly, forcing Lexa to look at her clearly. She runs her thumbs down the contours of Lexa’s cheeks, pulling her close.  “Yes.”

 

There are stars behind Clarke’s eyes, echoes of the sky and it’s dead falling behind her irises and the Earth is beautiful, but Lexa is wont to find a better comparison than Clarke and the galaxies that burst from her gaze. She remembers reading that the light in the sky are the remnants of bodies long gone, that though we are just now glimpsing their magnificence they have dissappeared centuries ago, and Lexa hopes that she may never see the light dim from Clarke’s eyes ever again.

 

“I have hurt you.” Clarke makes a half-hearted noise of protest, but they both know it to be true. “I have hurt you enough for a lifetime. You deserve no more pain and, this world permitting, it will never come from me again.” Lexa brushes a soft hand across her face and thinks it should not have taken a war for her to come to this point.

 

Clarke kisses her then, eating Lexa’s promise and swallowing both their fears, nipping at the bottom of her lip and gently tracing the bones of Lexa’s face, feeling her eyelashes flutter against her cheeks. Her lips are rough and chapped, skin bleeding in places, but Clarke kisses her like none of that matters, softly bringing their lips together over and over again. Lexa is restless against her and attempts to deepen the kiss, but every action brings about a stab of pain across her body, like thousands of needles prickling against her skin, and Clarke lays a gentle hand against her chest, pushing Lexa away when she realizes the stuttered breaths are not from excitement, but from agony.

 

“It’s okay.” Clarke whispers, intertwining their fingers. Lexa’s heart jumps in a familiar way at her touch and she leans forward to rest her head against Clarke’s collarbone, gripping Clarke’s hand tighter as if that alone might hold her here forever. “There’s time. I’m not going anywhere tonight.”

 

Lexa falls asleep second and wakes up first to daylight streaming in through open windows, legs tangled up with Clarke’s, and keeps bated breath in her lungs, slowly counting the ways in which they will live. She allows hope to bloom in her bandaged chest.